[OSGeo-Conf] [Board] FOSS4G Discount for Charter Members proposal

Andrew Ross andrew.ross at eclipse.org
Fri Sep 5 06:32:39 PDT 2014

Thank you Steven, everyone.

More thoughts in hopes they help:

I sense the key concern may be profit sharing which is Cameron's point 
#1. I say this because LocationTech projects (JTS, uDig, GeoGig, 
GeoTrellis, GeoMesa, etc.), or unaffiliated projects (Leaflet, d3, 
Anvil, Cesium, etc.) and initiatives are usually welcome to speak at 
FOSS4G and the audience is definitely interested in them.

There may be some tension between those that feel FOSS4G is a big tent 
for any quality open source geospatial software, and those that feel 
FOSS4G strictly == OSGeo.

In my opinion, having been to all FOSS4G's since 2007 except one, the 
spirit of FOSS4G has always clearly been a big tent. I also think this 
*strengthens* the FOSS4G brand considerably, which is a good thing for 

Speaking to Cameron's point #1, for FOSS4G NA 2015, we are planning a 
fixed price per paid registration to contribute to OSGeo. This is a 
simple paradigm that is very clear to understand and helps ensure mutual 
success from a great event. I welcome feedback on this idea.

Speaking to Cameron's point #2. Based on what Darrell & others before 
him have shared, it sounds like OSGeo is already somewhat absentee in 
terms of "controlling" FOSS4G. I noticed there are often fairly 
significant differences between FOSS4G proposals & the actual results. 
Sometimes considerable differences like a hike of 50% in registration 
prices for example. I think a clear relationship with the Eclipse 
Foundation with clear terms and strong continuity over time might enable 
more building upon each event might be better.

For #3, with LocationTech, Apache, Mozilla, & many others doing open 
source geospatial, and other initiatives like Geomeetup & Georabble and 
many others are thriving, I think OSGeo is one of many organizations. 
This thought seems scary to a small group of people who had bigger 
aspirations. This diversity doesn't bother the vast majority of people 
in the community. I don't think "there can be only one" is necessary for 
OSGeo's brand to thrive. If the OSGeo board would like my help and 
advice with regards to brand, I am happy to offer it.

These are my thoughts and feelings. I welcome feedback and criticism.


On 05/09/14 05:16, Steven Feldman wrote:
> Cameron makes some very good points which probably articulate the 
> concerns of many in the OSGeo community. On the other hand, Andrew 
> sets out well some of the concerns that people like me have regarding 
> the sustainability of FOSS4G global events and perhaps the longer term 
> vision and growth of OSGeo.
> There are many of us who are passionate about open source and want to 
> help to strengthen our community and reach out to an ever growing 
> opportunity. Surely we can find a way for OSGeo and Eclipse to 
> collaborate that furthers our shared objectives and addresses any 
> concerns?
> You can consider this an offer to help if wanted
> ______
> Steven
> On 5 Sep 2014, at 01:44, Andrew Ross <andrew.ross at eclipse.org 
> <mailto:andrew.ross at eclipse.org>> wrote:
>> Dear Cameron,
>> I'm grateful for your comments & insights.
>> After the vote was settled, multiple people approached me, 
>> apologized, and explained they felt bullied to vote against the D.C. 
>> bid. The fear you speak of is a powerful thing. I would like to help 
>> address it if I can.
>> Would do you suggest we do to address these concerns?
>> To address your more general comments. There are good people at the 
>> helm at LocationTech and they're interested in building great 
>> technology & a vibrant ecosystem. The group has consistently made 
>> decisions in the spirit of collaboration and mutual benefit.
>> Whether it's sharing Legal/IP analysis of OSGeo projects so they can 
>> fix problems, sponsoring events, inviting OSGeo projects to speak at 
>> events, using staff to help organize FOSS4G-NA 2015, and more. These 
>> are tangible useful things from LocationTech that benefited OSGeo & 
>> the wider community.
>> There is no us & them. We're all part of the same community that 
>> transcends organizations/projects/initiatives. Different areas of the 
>> community take different approaches which are fine and complementary. 
>> Who says it has to be a zero sum game?! What if there's nothing to be 
>> scared of? Be prudent, but not fearful.
>> People who have good reason to know have been saying for some time 
>> that the status quo with FOSS4G is not sustainable. The issues are 
>> still as of yet unaddressed. Many of the problems are things the 
>> Eclipse Foundation and LocationTech can address. This isn't the only 
>> path forward, but I sense one that is more open & collaborative has a 
>> higher chance for mutual success. That's the spirit of open source.
>> Regards,
>> Andrew
>> On 04/09/14 18:51, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>>> Hi Andrew,
>>> The Washington FOSS4G proposal was very compelling, however it was 
>>> not selected. I can't speak for all the committee who voted or for 
>>> their reasons for selection, however I will hazard some guesses, and 
>>> aim to be frank to help further dialogue.
>>> When LocationTech was founded there was concern from some that OSGeo 
>>> would become redundant due to LocationTech attracting  Open Source 
>>> GIS mindshare away from OSGeo. While LocationTech has attracted some 
>>> mindshare, I think many of the original concerns have not yet been 
>>> realised, and OSGeo still remains a very effective and efficiently 
>>> run organisation.
>>> Beyond the efficiency of OSGeo's do-ocrity approach to empowering 
>>> volunteer communities, I suspect part of the reason OSGeo retains 
>>> its brand recognition is the strong association between OSGeo and 
>>> FOSS4G conferences. These FOSS4G conferences also provide OSGeo with 
>>> a modest income which cover's OSGeo's frugal expenses.
>>> I sense there is an unspoken concern within OSGeo voting communities 
>>> that giving control of FOSS4G conferences to LocationTech has the 
>>> potential to:
>>> 1. Cut into OSGeo's current primary income source.
>>> 2. Result in a loss of OSGeo's control of FOSS4G and related activities.
>>> 3. Erode OSGeo's brandname, marketing reach, and mindshare.
>>> This is a different situation to OSGeo engaging a Professional 
>>> Conference Organisor (PCO) to run a FOSS4G event, as the PCO is not 
>>> competing for Open Source GIS mindshare.
>>> If LocationTech wish to play a greater role in FOSS4G, and attract 
>>> OSGeo trust and community votes, I suggest LocationTech put 
>>> practical measures in place which focus on these touch points.

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